I hate to keep interrupting the narrative, but these pesky stories turn up and they’re worth bringing to your attention. There are two for you today.
First up, the expansion of the 1-AA tournament from 16 to 20 teams is being met with some approval, mixed with a little “we’ll figure it out as we go along”. (h/t Team Speed Kills)
“I think any time you’re able to provide more access, so more institutions can be part of the tournament, it’s a good thing,” said Massachussetts athletic director John McCutcheon, who chairs the NCAA Division I Football Championship Committee. “We’re going to have some learning-curve issues to deal with, probably, the first year that we move to this format, but I think all in all it’s going to be a positive addition to the playoffs.”
More interesting to me, though, is the criticism from one of the coaches whose team plays in the title game.
Montana coach Bobby Hauck, whose Grizzlies are in the championship game for the second straight year and seventh time overall, has a much different opinion.
“It’s a disastrous decision on every level,” he said…
That’s pretty cut and dried. What’s the problem?
… Montana athletic director Jim O’Day and Appalachian State athletic director Charlie Cobb are on the championship committee, and both opposed changing the current format.
While he supports more teams having the chance to play in the postseason — there are 118 FCS teams — O’Day said he’s very concerned about the physical toll the lengthened season will have on the players and the economics of the switch.
“When we assessed it from our point of view at the University of Montana, we figured it was probably going to cost us another $100,000 to keep the kids over Christmas,” O’Day said. “The dorms are closed, the dining services at the university are closed, so we’ll have to be (living) off campus and eating off campus…”
… University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman said he liked the 16-team format because with only a few exceptions every team in the field had a chance to win the title.
“I think every team that’s in the tournament should have a chance to win the tournament, and that’s not the case (with the expanded field),” he said. “They’re adding four teams that have no shot to win the thing.”
Ultimately, Huesman said, the NCAA “can do what they want. My job is to win games and try to get in it.”
Now there’s a ringing endorsement. Seriously, some probably see that as a feature not a bug, as Cinderellas tend to spice up a multi-round tournament.
The other story is for those of you who pooh-pooh all that “devalue the regular season” concern about a playoff that people like me have. There’s nothing to worry about, right?